Monday, July 30, 2012

“It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.”
― Mark Twain

One thing about my family. We are stubborn. When we get our minds set on something, rarely do we change our minds. I've noticed the same thing about Abby. She has that same Skinner stubborness that we were all blessed with.

I've heard more about what happened at Cathy's house. Apparently, Abby and Cathy had had a bit of a heated discussion over living arrangements for my nephew Ryan, who Abby, of course, did not want to be left stranded. You see, Ryan came to stay with my sister Cathy's son Joey and his girlfriend. As those things sometimes go, once the honeymoon is over, after the fun stops, trouble usually comes along. That's what happened with them.

Then, of course, my two sisters discussed the situation and did not see eye-to-eye. Abby like the mother bear that she is came to Ryan's aid. Cathy felt offended, since it was her home. The next thing you know, Abby said she was leaving. I guess the honeymoon for them too, was over.

Abby felt Cathy should come to her, Cathy felt like Abby should come to her...and well...what happened was that Abby left Cathy's and it wasn't on good terms.

They have spoken a couple of times, but not much lately. 

On the other hand, we have my sister Connie, another stubborn sister, indeed. She met Abby for those three days. She judged Abby the first days that she met Abby. She said that Abby was stuck-up and snobby and acted too good for our family. She never gave her a chance after that. She's ignored Abby's calls every since.

It's a shame that Abby wasn't given a bit more of a chance in the beginning. All that she wanted was her family. Instead what she got was a bunch of stubborn people who weren't willing to give her the chance to get past her initial meetings.

Abby is a traumatized person. She may be a stubborn as the rest of us, but she needs more of a chance. She has gone through more than any of us have gone through. We owe that to Abby.

One person who is giving Abby that chance is my sister Kelly. My sister Kelly has opened her home and her life to Abby and her husband Guy. 

Just as before, once that honeymoon phase wore off, trouble began with them. Kelly and Abby are at odds most of the time. Abby moved across the street from Kelly. They keep trying to be friends but they are so much alike that they can't seem to get along.

Kelly doesn't understand Abby and Abby doesn't understand Kelly.

That's not because Abby is the only one that has been damaged by life. As I've said in previous posts, we have all seen our share of trauma in our lives. 

Is bringing together two damaged people ever going to work? Will counseling be the answer? Will all of our strong-willed siblings ever be able to get along?

I think that the important part is for none of us to give up on Abby as we have given up on each other so many times. We need to be as strong for each other as we are against each other. 

If we all put as much energy making sure we get along as we do fighting, we might just find our fences mended.

With that said, I still do not talk to two of my sisters, but I pray every day that God touches our family in a way that we will one day reunite and put our troubles behind us.

And there is still the matter of finding baby #1.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Who Ever Said Life Would Be Easy?

Martin Luther King Jr. Said:
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

After what has happened with Abby, I find myself fearful to find our other sister.

Yet, I am so glad that I found Abby. I can't imagine what life would be like if I didn't find her.

Does Abby wish that she wasn't found? Was her life better or worse before I found her? Did I ruin her life by finding her?

If I found our other sister? Would her life be turned upside down the same way Abby's has?

Would it just be more loss?

I don't want to be afraid. I want to build up a dike of courage and I want to find her. 

In the meantime, I will continue to pray for healing for our family.

Who ever said life would be easy, right?

Our Problems are Like an Onion

The aching in my heart for my family is not the kind of ache that you would imagine. 

Some people might describe heartache as glass shattering against  granite tile, however, that is not the kind of ache that my heart feels.

My heart aches with a gnawing sadness-- A kind of tugging, like a mule pulling a heavy cart might feel. 

I feel like my family has been torn apart.

For one thing, the family that was brought up together can't get along to save our lives. Most of us don't speak to each other. The other half that do speak, does so with malice and contempt for the ones that do not get spoken to. 

And now, this magical reunion that we had with Abby has turned into another round of heartache.

It seems as though time and distance can play a very large role in the lives of families that have adoptions. I have said before, in earlier posts, that siblings need a chance to get to know each other, and I meant it. 

My sisters have all, so far, failed to get along. Why? Where did things go wrong? I have been asking myself that every since I learned of the latest problems that my sisters were having.

I believe that the answer is more complicated than any of us can answer. 

I think that our problem is like the proverbial onion--layers and layers of stuff outside--and then once you get to the center, it makes us cry.

My sister Kelly said that we probably need therapy to deal with this problem. I would agree.

Each and every one of us have deep-rooted issues that we have within ourselves. I believe that unless we heal ourselves, we can't try to heal each other. 

I can look at each and every one of my siblings and honestly say to them that they need therapy--including myself. We have all been through a rough and crazy life. We all carry pain, heartache, addiction, depression, anxiety, and we don't know what to do with ourselves outside of trying to cover it up.

That goes for

I think that unless we heal ourselves, we cannot try to heal our relationships.

We have to be willing to open ourselves up to the pain that we feel in our own lives. If we don't, will we be able to deal with the pains that our siblings are feeling?

We have issues of abandonment, loss, aggressiveness, repression, unresolved feelings, passivity, distrust, lack of self-confidence,emotional pain, confusing fears, isolation, low self-esteem, fears, unhappiness,  and the list goes on and on.

Unless we confront these problems within ourselves, we will not know how to communicate with our siblings.

I feel that what has happened with Abby and my siblings is that Abby came into the family with her own set of problems--possibly abandonment and trust issues--and mixed them up with siblings who had their own set of pains--like loss and low-self esteem. What resulted was a clash of personalities and a clash of problems.

I can only pray that my family--each and every one of us--can find our ways back to each other. I pray that one day we can all sit down at the same table and laugh and cry and be what we really want to be...brothers and sisters. <3

The Prisoner by: EMILY BRONTË

In the dungeon crypts idly did I stray,
Reckless of the lives wasting there away;

"Draw the ponderous bars; open, Warder stern!"

He dare not say me nay–

the hinges harshly turn.

"Our guests are darkly lodged," 

I whispered, gazing through the vault whose grated eye showed heaven more grey than blue.

(This was when glad spring laughed in awaking pride.)

"Aye, darkly lodged enough!" returned my sullen guide.

Then, God forgive my youth, forgive my careless tongue!

I scoffed, as the chill chains on the damp flagstones rung;

"Confined in triple walls, art thou so much to fear,
That we must bind thee down and clench thy fetters here?"

The captive raised her face;

It was as soft and mild as sculptured marble saint or slumbering, unweaned child;

It was so soft and mild, it was so sweet and fair,

Pain could not trace a line nor grief a shadow there!

The captive raised her hand and pressed it to her brow:

"I have been struck," she said, "and I am suffering now;

Yet these are little worth, your bolts and irons strong;

And were they forged in steel they could not hold me long."

Hoarse laughed the jailor grim:

"Shall I be won to hear;

Dost think, fond dreaming wretch, that I shall grant thy prayer?

Or, better still, wilt melt my master's heart with groans?

Ah, sooner might the sun thaw down these granite stones!

"My master's voice is low, his aspect bland and kind,

But hard as hardest flint the soul that lurks behind;

And I am rough and rude, yet not more rough to see
than is the hidden ghost which has its home in me!

About her lips there played a smile of almost scorn:

"My friend," 

she gently said, 

"you have not heard me mourn;

When you my parents' lives-

my lost life, can restore,

Then may I weep and sue-
but never, Friend, before!"

"Yet, tell them all, I am not doomed to wear
Year after year in gloom and desolate despair;

A messenger of Hope comes every night to me,
And offers, for short life, eternal liberty.

He comes with western winds, with evening's wandering airs, with that clear dusk of heaven that brings the thickest stars;

Winds take a pensive tone, and stars a tender fire, 

and visions rise and change which kill me with desire–

"Desire for nothing known in my maturer years
When joy grew mad with awe at counting future tears;

When, if my spirit's sky was full of flashes warm,
I knew not whence they came, from sun or thunderstorm;

"But first a hush of peace, a soundless calm descends;

The struggle of distress and fierce impatience ends;

Mute music soothes my breast-unuttered harmony
that I could never dream till earth was lost to me.

"Then dawns the Invisible, the Unseen its truth reveals;

My outward sense is gone, my inward essence feels
its wings are almost free, its home, its harbour found;

Measuring the gulf it stoops and dares the final bound!

"Oh, dreadful is the check-intense the agony
When the ear begins to hear and the eye begins to see;

When the pulse begins to throb, the brain to think again, the soul to feel the flesh and the flesh to feel the chain!

"Yet I would lose no sting, would wish no torture less; 

The more that anguish racks the earlier it will bless;

And robed in fires of Hell, 

or bright with heavenly shine,

If it but herald Death, the vision is divine."

She ceased to speak, and we, unanswering turned to go–

We had no further power to work the captive woe;

Her cheek, her gleaming eye, declared that man had given a 
sentence unapproved,
and overruled by Heaven.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wake Up and Live!

Bob Marley said: "Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you're riding through the ruts, don't complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don't bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake Up and Live!"

I've always been known as the person who runs from a fight. Whether it was a couple of kids fighting it out at school when I was young or if it was the man and wife who lived next door who would scream at each other and knock over furniture until the cops showed up. I was never the one to stick around when things got heated. 

I don't keep a great many friends around me. I have one really great friend with whom I've been friends with for nearly 30 years.

Sometimes, it seems like friends are more work than what I'm willing to invest in. I figure, if they are true friends, they will stick around. After all, friendship isn't something that should have to be a lot of work.

I have a life that is full of college classes for both my husband and myself. When I have to juggle that and four growing children, I find it hard to try to deal with the stress. 

While some people have the fight or flight response to stress, I have the freeze response. 

The website says: 
"THE FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE has got a new name. It's now called the fight, flight or freeze response. Stress experts around the world are adding the word freeze to the name in deference to the fact that instead of fighting or fleeing, sometimes we tend to freeze (like a deer in the headlights) in traumatic situations. The freeze response works differently. When we're overwhelmed by an attacker and we perceive that there is NO HOPE of surviving we tend to FREEZE."
Every since I was a little girl, I have always had this way to freeze in stressful situations. 

I've always attributed this to a time that I don't remember. When I was just a little child, two to three years old, I had a couple of serious accidents that nearly killed me. If my father, who had been a volunteer fireman, were alive to tell you, he'd probably tell you that I, indeed, had died.

The first time, was by drowning. My family found me face-down in the family swimming pool. They pulled my lifeless, grey body out of the water and I had no vital signs. My father, continued my resuscitation because my mother was insane with panic. Eventually, after many breaths and compressions, he brought me back to life.

The second time, was when I was hit by a motorcycle. My brother had been riding down the dirt road in front of our house, when I ran out as he came by. The accident split my head open like a melon in the back,  tore a gash down my thigh, broke both of my collar bones, and finally, sent me into convulsions.

I feel lucky to be alive, and while I don't 'remember' what happened to me in my waking mind, I feel that my subconscious does remember. 

I believe that there is a part of me that remembers the seconds before getting hit, that it remembers the panic as I gulped water into my lungs.

When I get stressed, and I feel panicked, my heart rate does not raise nor do I get high blood pressure, instead, my blood pressure lowers, and I go deep within myself where things are calm and mellow.

Some people may think that I simply don't take life seriously. Take, for example, my husband; who says that I joke too much when I am stressed. The reason that I do that is because if I did not laugh and joke, I'd probably cry. It's another one of my coping mechanisms. 

I have brought this to attention because a sister of mine commented on my blog today. She rebutted things that I've posted, and of course, she is angry with me. 

I can not please all of the people all of the time, and I also can not agree with every person all of the time.

This blog is purely my take on my sister's adoptions and all of the things that have occurred since I have found one of them.

I have tried not to be ugly or mean, I have merely tried to tell the truth as I have seen it.

So, in order to keep my sanity, I have deleted her comments, and I've decided to move on with my blog regardless of what has been posted.

And as Bob Marley would have said, I am ready to: "Wake up and live."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting to Know You

This song is for Abby and to the rest of my family. That includes sisters that I am not currently talking to and to my dear brother who is afar. It is also for my sisters Kelly and Lori who are living in the same town, near Abby.

Learning to know someone is a process. It isn't something that happens overnight. As children, you learn how to interact with your family members and siblings. It is a process that takes years. Sometimes there will be fights, but you learn (many times by the parents demanding to do so) to kiss and make up. 

You learn each other's likes- as well as each other's dislikes. You learn to know just what it is that makes the other person tick and how to push their buttons. You learn how far you can push the other person before they finally break and-as in many cases-start chasing you around threatening to break every bone in your body, as you run and scream for your mother and father to save you.

These are things that you learn while growing up with someone. However, as my family has found out, things can be tough when a sibling who has been missing, to come back into our lives with an easy transition. We find out that, while this person is just like us, she is also different. We each have expectations that our family member is going to be just like us. But, we have to realize that our adopted siblings...our adopted parents...our adopted family are their own person. They had a life before they met you. They have their own likes and dislikes.

The thing that sets birth families who stay together with birth families who are separated apart is that birth families who stay together get to know each other over years, whereas the ones who have had a separation has to get to know each other as they are 'thrown' into each other's lives.

We must remember to be patient and to be kind. 

The child of adoption never 'asked' to be put up for adoption. They never did anything wrong. We owe it to them to get to know them and to allow them to get to know us.

I have heard many stories of reunions which didn't go the way that everyone had planned because either the adoptee, the birth parents or the siblings had other ideas of what the other would be like. This is because they never took the time to get to know the other person. 

And that is part the journey--that is the part that we must work at every day. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Just Average People

It was a few days ago when I decided to put an end to the drama in my life. I've never been one to fuss and fight. I'm the one that runs from a fight. 

After my sisters had deleted me from their facebook accounts, I found myself checking in on them from other family member's accounts. I was watching as they posted negative comments about everyone. I went on my sister Kelly's account and saw some pretty horrible stuff that was said about me. I was letting the stress get to me. I had to make it stop. That's why I blocked them from my account. That's why I unsubscribed to several family member's posts. 

I had decided that I didn't need to do that. I was allowing negativity into my life. I have a busy life. I am a mother to four beautiful children and I am the wife of a full-time nursing student, and I am a Spanish major going into education. I am a busy woman.

Negativity brings you down. It zaps your energy and makes you weak. I am a  happy person. I can't live my life and allow negativity to drag me down. That's why I decided to post that I was not going to talk about it or let it bring me down. 

That is when Abby decided to do the same. Except she took it a step further. She blocked everyone in our family except Lori, Kelly, and myself from her facebook. It was as if my post had sparked some kind of thing in her that she felt she had to shed everyone from her life. 

She felt that this family has dragged her down. She said she didn't need all of the drama that came along with it. She told me that she wished she'd never been found.

Yes, she said it. And it hurt. I felt like I was responsible for her pain. I felt offended that my family wasn't good enough. I felt protective of our "Jerry Springer" family.


That is when I talked to my best friend, Beth. You see, she has had a lot of similar things happen in her life that I have. As a matter-of-fact, her husband is an adoptee who found his family after 30 something years. She told me that adoptees grow up with this dream in their heads that they are going to be found one day by their birth parents. They dream that they are going to be doctors and lawyers-that they'd have this picture-perfect life and be the happiest family, where everyone got along and they live happily every after. But it doesn't happen that way.

The truth is that most adoptees are given up for adoption because their birth parents were screwed up themselves. I mean, who could give up a child if something in their lives wasn't completely screwed up?!?

What makes adoptees think that life is going to be all rosy? 

Our family has been messed up from day one. My father took my mother out of a dysfunctional home and she ran far away with him. Then he died. Oh great! He died. Then, here she is trying to raise six kids on her own. They all grow into rebellious teenagers who end up giving her very difficult times growing up.

Without our dad, we fell apart, somewhere along the line we all got screwed up. And now we are adults and our lives are completely different from each others. We expect to all get along because that's what families do, right? Not always.

Sometimes they get mad. Sometimes they fight. Sometimes the disown each other. But the bottom line is, you are family--regardless of your dysfunction. 

Just as my friend Beth said, "You find out that your birth family is just every day people. They are people with jobs and lives. They have drug problems. They have weight problems. They have money problems. They have emotional problems. They gossip. They fight. And they make up."

So, even though our family is not perfect. Even though we have our problems, we have to remember, we are family. Just a crazy, mixed up group of individuals from the same bloodline. Whether we grew up together or if we were separated by 47 years, we are family. 

So embrace it or pretend that it doesn't exist, but the reality is you are who you are and Abby, you are my sister.